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More African American lung cancer deaths in segregated areas

Sunday, January 20, 2013   (0 Comments)
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Study links segregation and higher African American lung cancer mortalty

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center analyzed national data on lung cancer deaths between 2003 and 2007 and found black lung cancer patients had a 59 percent death rate, compared with 51 percent of white lung cancer patients. But blacks living in the most segregated areas had a mortality rate 10 percent higher blacks living in diverse communities. The higher rates were consistent regardless of the socio-economic status of the black cancer patients.

The investigators also found that 32 percent of the U.S. population lives in counties with high segregation, 40 percent in counties with moderate segregation, and 28 percent in counties with low segregation. Segregation was highest in the Northeast, Midwest and South, and lowest in the Northwest. Findings are reported in U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, and BET.

Dr. David Chang, director of outcomes research at the University of California San Diego Department of Surgery, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study pubished in JAMA/Surgery, told the Times he hoped further study would focus on environmental factors involved in the stark health disparities the United States rather than genetics and individual behavior..

"We don’t need drugs or genetic explanations to fix a lot of the health care problems we have,” Dr. Chang said.

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